Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 9 October 2021

Jon Kuhrt Psephizo The culture change we need in the light of abuse scandals

Helen King sharedconversations Counter-cultural Cranmer?

Martyn Percy Modern Church Churches and Cultural Climate-Change Denial (Part One): Learning from Canute
Churches and Cultural Climate-Change Denial (Part Two): Money, Sex and Power

Anne Foreman ViaMedia.News General Synod: Why I Can’t Support “Save the Parish” Campaign

Edmund Weiner Surviving Church Iwerne Camps and Conservative Evangelicalism. Memories and Reassessment

Angela Tilby Church Times Ministry that is lay-led is not Anglican

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FrDavidH
FrDavidH
1 month ago

Martyn Percy is surely correct when he questions whether or not Church ‘growth’ is always ‘right’, particularly when the most successful congregations are expanding to spread absolute nonsense. Dr Percy’s list of evangelical support for Trump-inspired conspiracy theories should ring alarm bells after the CofE has been hijacked by the co-religionists of American extremism. Trump and members of the Westboro Baptist ‘church’ would feel at home in many of today’s CofE ‘plants’. It hardly seems to matter that what is being taught is fake news.

Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I would characterise it as more “fake news” and conspiracy theories from you about CofE “plants”. I think you will find that the vast majority of people in those contexts will be voting Labour, Liberal Democrats or Green – really quite a distance from Trump. But don’t let the truth get in the way of your narrative!

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

Thank you for your knowledge about the political allegiances of happy-clappy ‘planters’, Nigel. Please could you refer us all to a website or source which reveals these astonishing ‘facts’. Otherwise we’ll assume you’re just spouting fake news.

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

Too true. Around here the absolute nonsense is being spread by a liberal church where the vicar is happy to have the sinless saviour described as a racist and His deity denied.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Indeed. Perpetual unrestricted growth is malignant. Cancerous cells invade neighbours, stealing nutrients from them, destroying them. Cancerous cells lose the ability to “know” when to stop. Throwing money (nutrients) at growing churches (to them that have shall more be given) is carcinogenic. Pursuing growth is greed.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

‘Thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold!’ … ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ … Did no one warn Jesus how greedy and cancerous this gospel sounds?

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

It certainly was cancerous and greedy to indigenous people in Australia, North and South America etc where it effectively wiped out their ancient noble cultures

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

David, you are setting up two extreme alternatives – wipe out indigenous cultures by force on the one hand, or, don’t spread the gospel at all on the other. But is it not possible to do what the early Christian evangelists in the first three centuries did – share the gospel from a position of weakness, not power, so that it can do its work by the power of the Holy Spirit without the support of the state? We know from history how astonishing the rate of growth was in those first three centuries, and Alan Kreider explores the question… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Evangelical fervour has often caused untold misery among the indigenous people of Australia and Canada. The RC Church was recently revealed to be the perpetrator of vile abuse among indigenous Canadians.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57592243

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

David, since I am a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, I think you can take it as read that I don’t need you to point me toward BBC news sources about what’s happening in my own country and what my own church did. I think the residential schools were a terrible idea (as are the English boarding schools they were based on), and these days my church is doing all it can to help heal the enormous wounds that were inflicted there. Perhaps it might be appropriate for you to explore our own Anglican Church of Canada website… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I wouldn’t presume to know more about indigenous Canadian culture than yourself, Tim, particularly after your valuable ministry in the Arctic. My main worry is the way in which Christian missionaries historically imposed what they assumed to be a superior belief system upon settled civilisations and imposed an alien culture upon them. There may have been a better “Christian” way of doing this, but where was it applied? Cultural snobbery doesn’t always have to be British, although the Anglican Communion is a historic example of trying to turn Jonny Foreigner into sensible English gentlemen.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I don’t normally respond to playground point-scoring, Mr Runcorn, but I am moved so to do in this case.  Assuming the authenticity of the words you quote, I deduce no instruction to make disciples of all the world but rather simply to show the power of the gospel to all we encounter. I think that we have been ill-served by translating ἔθνη as nations or world rather than as, say, tribes or ethnicities or some such. Let a gung-ho evangelist loose round here and see what happens. I might visit them in hospital, though I doubt I’d be able to… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Hear! Hear!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Stanley, I’m curious to know whether you think the Christian evangelists were right to bring the Gospel of Jesus to Britain, which led to the church we ‘Thinking Anglicans’ are part of? Would it have been better for them to have left the ancient noble cultures of the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons alone, and never introduced them to the message of Jesus?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Right or wrong? Too polarised altogether. It happened. Native paganism would probably have been neither better nor worse, just different. It too would have suffered as our understanding of nature struck at magic sky pixies.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

So it’s a matter of indifference to you whether or not you would ever have heard of Jesus?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Crikey, Fotherington-Tomas, I’m in trubble with the Head Prefect.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

It’s a fair question. I haven’t hurled abuse at you (‘happy-clappy’, ‘politburo’, ‘trite choruses’ etc.) – in fact, I’ve been much gentler than many on this site who embrace liberalism but are very illiberal about it. But it seems clear to me that if the early Christians had followed your vision, the message of Jesus would never have reached England, and the old religions of the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons would have carried on undisturbed. Do you think that’s what should have happened?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Mr Monkhouse, I pushed back on what still reads to me as a wholly negative understanding of ‘growth’ – “Growth is greed” – made here in the context of church, faith and mission (and, utterly bizarrely, Trump-loving white American Evangelicals). Your testimony of critical faith reveals something altogether more nuanced. So thank you for meeting me in the playground. They are serious places aren’t they? Then and now. 

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I don’t fault your compassionate values, and it’s not my place to fault or judge anyway. But as this thread has been a bit rumbustuous, may I chuck my own wondering into the mix. You refer to sky pixies and question the afterlife, even though resurrection of the dead has been a fundamental assertion of the Christian faith over the millenia and since the beginning. So my question and wondering is: without the supernatural, are you left with a religion? I get that people can have an admirable way of life, a philosophy, a community of service, decency and sacrifice.… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw (@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The OED gives a number of meanings for the word “religion”, dating back to at least the 13th century, some of them obsolete. Not all the extant meanings include belief in the supernatural. Ultimately “religion” is about following a rule (of life).

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

The Meaning and End of Religion by Wilfred Cantwell Smith remains incredibly useful on this subject. “There is nothing in heaven or earth that can legitimately be called the Christian faith. There have been and are the faiths of individual Christians, each personal, each specific, each immediate.”

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

In short, Susannah, I don’t know. Neither does anyone else AFAIK. I don’t lose sleep over it. As to resurrection of the dead – I think it premediaeval nonsense invented in order to control. I’ve never viewed the creeds as anything other than a series of rules like a golf club constitution (I’m not old enough to play golf) invented by silly men trying to decide who’s in and who’s out. I would love to be in the company once again of my dead son, but I don’t think that will happen. If I am wrong, hooray! The Divine (=… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

‘I think he was a bit of a Buddhist‘. There were also those in the Middle Ages (perhaps John Damascene or Euthymius of Athos) who thought the Buddha was a bit of a Christian: https://archive.org/details/in.gov.ignca.29809 (the editor, David Marshall Lang, of SOAS, was rather a tragic figure, and I can bore you about him in private correspondence). The Georgian translation soon found its way into Greek, and even into Middle English (there is a good edition by the Early English Text Society, of 1986). Also here: https://resources.warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/neh1020b2218771.pdf (no doubt influenced to some extent by Edwin Arnold’s celebrated 1879 ‘Light of… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks Froghole. I have a copy of Barlaam and Iosaphat. There are many crossovers with Hinduism too – and doubtless with other religions and philosophies though I’m not well up on them. I find Christian claims of exclusivity quite risible, and although I was once sympathetic to Rahner’s “anonymous christian” (I was taught by one of Rahner’s pupils) I now find that patronising even if well-intentioned.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Thanks for engaging, Stanley. I like it when we wrestle with issues.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I like the take by the late comedian Norm MacDonald. In a NYT article (Sept.20/2021) titled , Norm MacDonald’s Comedy was quite Christian, Matthew Walther writes: In a set from 2009 that began with a dismissive reference to the comedian and atheist Bill Maher, Mr. MacDonald asked the audience to consider the question of life after death. What followed was a kind of postmodern restatement of Pascal’s wager. Mr MacDonald said: “There’s only two things. You got to look at the evidence that God exists. None. That’s not good. Then you go, ‘what’s the evidence that God does not exist?’… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

I don’t need to tell you, Rod, that eternal life is not everlasting life (yet another misleading translation): eternal is a quality of life, out of time if you like. As to heaven, it would be very boring. I once heard David Jenkins (which alone will condemn me in the eyes of many) start a sermon in a full Durham, cathedral with “Can you imagine how boring God must find it to be worshipped all the time?” I quite like Nancy Mitford’s version of heaven: lovely cottages round a village green, each inhabited by one’s friends. Something like that anyway… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Right on Stanley; but that takes us from stand up routines to the deep end of the pool. The Thomist school ( e.g. Rahner with whom you are familiar) would want to say that God has timeless existence—note the pairing of both ‘timeless’ and ‘existence’. Such notions, including an existence that does not require the limitations of continuous or ordinal time, harken back to distinctions dealt with by Aquinas i.e. eternity, time, and aevum. I think this kind of framework provides the best shot at a systematic theology that successfully contends with the religious experience of resurrection that one finds… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Coo! Who are all these dead people you name? Today I’ll stick to the shallow end or else I shall drown. Pity Jonathan Swift didn’t have a row in Gulliver between shallow-enders and deep-enders. It could have been about eternity in Laputa with the Struldbrugs!

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

… but seriously, Rod, thank you for this. I have many problems, one of which is that my theological training was merely a 2 year non residential course that had it not been for the Rahner disciple Principal would have been dull and shallow. The consequence is that I am woefully ill-read theologically – smatterings here and there with perhaps slightly more than a smattering of Desert Fathers and Russians. My theology is empirical and experiential. I will not be told what to think by anyone else (much arrogance there). At the age of 71 I could spend my time… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Common ground there for sure Stanley. I’m not much into the appeal to ecclesiastical authority fallacy either. It is the old adage about exhortation begins where exegesis fails. You referenced the late Bp. David Jenkins earlier. He represents a different time and an Anglican intellectual tradition that is thin on the ground these days. I think it useful to keep that strand of our tradition updated and alive. As a generalization I would say that the order of bishops globally is something of a ‘captured house’ in my opinion. I was fortunate as a young R.C. undergrad to have the… Read more »

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

The search for church growth has been rocket boosted by the unending decline of the CofE, along with most mainstream denominations. Those of us who think church growth is part of the solution have done the maths, and can see where the church we love is headed on the current trajectory. It’s very easy to have a go at people who are experimenting to try to find ways to reverse the trends of over a century. What’s hard is trying to do it yourself, as DL Moody (I think) once said ‘my way of doing it is better than your… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  David Keen
1 month ago

“My way of doing it is better than your way of doing it” could be a slogan written by the happy-clappy leadership of today’s CofE. They have decided that playing guitars and singing worship songs is the antidote to unbelieving secularists, and will reverse the rejection of a religious world-view among thinking people. I can’t see, for instance, our RC brethren reversing their own decline by reducing celebrations of mass in favour of their clergy singing ditties in jeans and T-shirts. Secular people tend to think of Churches as harbouring paedophiles, being homophobic, spreading unscientific fairy tales, and adding nothing… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

‘As Martyn Percy points out, 80% of white evangelicals support Trump.’

Er – 80% of white evangelicals IN THE USA support Trump.

Even in the USA, the majority of non-white evangelicals do not support Trump. And speaking personally, I have a large network of evangelical friends. Beyond the borders of the USA, I can’t think of a single one who is a Trump supporter. How about your evangelical friends, David?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  David Keen
1 month ago

It’s easy to fall in to the trap of thinking that only evangelicals can save the Church, not least because they encourage that perception. If it were true they’ve certainly not done a very good job of mission lately given the inexorable rate of decline detailed each year in the Statistics for Mission. I understand that the cathedrals are doing well, so there is obviously a market for a structured formal liturgy. Radio 3 still broadcast choral evensong so there is a clientele there. If I had to sing trite choruses every week along the lines of Jesus’ name is… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

Given that the church is the gathered people of God, I wonder if the listening clientele on Radio 3 could be called the church. It would be informative if the statistics for mission were to be broken down further in order to identify which churches were growing and which were declining. As for your dislike of trite choruses I totally agree. I would also include repetitive chanting. I prefer worship songs/hymns which are clearly based upon scripture, and in a language that is spoken today.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Percy: climate change: spot on. Ms Thunberg is right, but it’s now too late – indeed it was too late 100 years ago. I recommend the novel “Skyseed” by Bill McGuire. .

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I believe Ms Thunberg is indeed right, and the resistance from the top to ‘taking action’ rather than “30 years of blah blah blah” has resulted in people turning their backs on the Church because of failure to remove discrimination against gay and lesbian people. If you listen to this YouTube clip where Ms Thunberg is speaking about Climate Change (please do listen and you’ll see what I mean), and apply it to the blah blah blah and lack of action by Church leaders for LGBT people… over 30, 40, 50 years… …the parallels are striking. “Blah blah blah… this… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Failure to deal properly with the same-sex marriage issue in the next five years will finish the Church of England. I am very mindful of this in my role on the Crown Nominations Commission. If re-elected to the General Synod next week for the Diocese of St Albans, I will spend every waking moment encouraging the House of Bishops to be brave with LLF. It’s not rocket science, and can we please sort out what is in the best interests of the Church of England before considering the wider Anglican Communion?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

Thank you for being a valuable ally of LGBT+ people, and I hope the representations you make to the House of bishops will finally being about substantive change. For hundreds and in all likelihood thousands of church communities around the country, the status quo position of the Church of England… that gay and lesbian people should live in celibacy all their lives… is just not sustainable. Commonsense realpolitik should prompt the House of Bishops – at the very least – to recognise the right of local church communities to affirm gay and lesbian intimate relationships if as a principle of… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

Part of the problem, which the church doesn’t seem to realise is that many of those in school now are very supportive of lesbians, gay men, bi and trans people. Many of them have friends on the LGBT spectrum. It’s not just the endless arguments within the church that are a problem, it’s that every year which passes the church is left further and further behind the social conscience of the nation – in terms of same sex relationships and marriages, gender reassignment and gender fluidity, and misogyny.   So I think you are right: the time is running out… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

This is absolutely my experience, from working as a school nurse in a large state secondary school with 1200 teens. There is a dominant acceptance of LGBT+ students, nurtured by an affirming school culture. If an individual makes a homophobic slur or comment, other students are incredibly quick to jump to the defence of their gay or lesbian friend. This is the default attitude. Now admittedly this isn’t a ‘faith’ school, but it’s the whole cultural tide of youth. Young people increasingly find it really hard to understand why one person’s love is more legitimate than another’s. As a Christian… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Susannah Clark
Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I think the House of Bishops get this, but I am not sure what it will take for them to act decisively. All dioceses are wrestling with the fact that hardly any children are in church today. A handful of parishes in each might have 50 or more, but the total number is a fraction of the number in church schools. The millennials are almost entirely missing, and therefore their children. And by the time teenagers get to sixth form (probably before) they instinctively know that the church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality is not only discriminatory but also not… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

I fear that if the CofE became totally inclusive, millennials wouldn’t suddenly come rushing through its doors. Young people seem to have no need for a religion which has little to add to their lives. Attempts by leaders like the late Bishops Jenkins and Spong to speak a more credible view of faith to rational young people are overridden by an Alpha-style religion for dummies. If all LGBT people were suddenly found acceptable to attend an Alpha course, they’d still be listening to superficial nonsense.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

Many thanks. I can attend a hundred churches at a time and not see a single child, nor any teenager or young adult. I have now attended services at touching 5,500 churches, and the number of places with a critical mass of ‘young’ people (born after c. 1980) is well under 100. Of course, not all of the services I have attended are representative of the demographic ‘health’ of any given congregation, but I have seen enough to appreciate that the institution is in terminal run-off almost everywhere, and that its large superstructure cannot be supported by such a marginal… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole, I agree with you that the investment in church schools has been a massive waste of resources, which has borne no great fruit for the C of E. But I’m less certain about your oft-repeated claim that the C of E missed a trick by not changing its service times after Sunday trading was liberalised. I can, of course, only speak from my own experience, but my attempt at doing something family friendly on a Sunday afternoon that we hoped might appeal to those who had gone shopping/to the football etc in the morning was a complete flop.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Many thanks, Fr. Dexter. I agree that it doesn’t always work. I have, however, encountered successful instances of all-age services after 4 PM (when the supermarkets close) at Horncastle (Lincoln), Scole and Stow Bedon (Norwich), Bathford (Bath & Wells), Claygate (Guildford), Chatteris (Ely), Southwick and Westhampnett (Chichester), Shrewton (Salisbury), etc. Absent the HTB-style churches, baptisms and ‘messy church’ (which usually has practically no worship content and caters solely for the very young), the examples listed are the only places where I have encountered younger people in any numbers. Football is generally played on Sunday mornings and, as mentioned, most shops… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thank you, Froghole, for those examples of successful Sunday afternoon worship – I’m pleased that some have managed to make that work. One of the sadnesses of the attempt in my last parish to do this was that certain ladies baked vast quantities of cake for these services, and had to take much of it home again as there is only so much that Father can eat. There is only so long you can keep flogging these efforts before people’s disappointment becomes too much.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I think part of the problem is that many in the Church continue to see these young people as Christians whose lives are just so busy that they can’t make time to go to church. For some that may be true, but for many that’s not the case. Many, if not most, are unevangelized people who haven’t heard the Gospel presented in a way they’ve found persuasive. I think we make a huge mistake if we expect Sunday services to do that job. They aren’t designed to do that; they”re designed to enable Christians to worship and learn. For all… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Chesterton
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Very many thanks for that. I think that you are probably right, and although Alpha isn’t my own cup of tea I think that it has done much to bridge an evident gap. You pose the fundamental question: “We need to find a way of helping non-clergy types feel confident about engaging with their friends in these conversations“. The problem that I am sure that a great many young people have with this, at least in the UK (and perhaps also in Canada) is that talking about religion in public, and even amongst friends, has long been taboo. The radical… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

My own experience has been that if I don’t pretend to be an expert in areas where I’m not an expert, my non-Christian friends respect that, because we’ve got a good relationship and they know I’m being real. I don’t think good evangelising conversations usually take place in isolation. I think they happen best in the context of genuine friendship, where people know they aren’t a ‘project’. I can have good political discussions with people in the context of a genuine friendship, even if the differences are quite sharp. I hang out a lot in the music community in Edmonton.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

To reflect on what would draw young people into Church life and Christianity, I think we need to try to dig deep into the psychology of young people and what matters to them. And my experience of young people over 25 years of work with them suggests to me that, from their point of view, what they need most of all is a sense of belonging… a sense of belonging to their own group… where they can explore young adulthood, or their own journey through childhood… they need a space that is theirs, where their tribe gathers, where they feel… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Just to add a little bit to my previous post. I commented on the need for “skilled and sensitively relaxed youth leaders”. That’s far easier said, than actually obtained. I’ve worked in church youth groups with gifted leaders, and alas with some adults who were embarrassing and offputting. With my own children, and their church life, I’ve seen the kind of youth leader who absolutely ‘got’ the need for young people to own their own space and group community. In fact I feel very very grateful for one particular leader, who I’ll name as ‘Jammie’, who was there for my… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Has “Godly Play” made it to the UK? In my USA parish we have found it to be a very good way to engage both young people and their families.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Excellent points from Tim, Froghole, Dexter, Susannah. The distinction between “getting them in” and teaching them when they’re in is important and as Tim says (if I read him right) overlooked. A brief survey of videos produced by churches round here, though purporting to be for the unchurched, reveals them to be full of jargon and Christian-ese that must mean nothing to the vast majority of people – words and phrases like “in Christ”, “in the power of the spirit”, “fellowship”, “redeemed”. Good teachers are very often good because they can put themselves in the place of the pupil who… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

First, that’s a bad headline for Angela Tilby’s article. She means parish ministry, and her article makes that clear. But not all ministry is parish ministry, and there are plenty of ministries that can and should be lay-led. I had hoped that we had moved past the bad old days when an ordinand was described as going into ‘THE ministry’. Apparently I was wrong. Second, as usual, the word ‘Anglican’ is used to describe realities in the Church of England. But ‘Anglican’ is a wider word. I served seven years in the Diocese of the Arctic, six of them as… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Martyn Percy’s description of how an American diocese functions was very familiar to me. In fact, I suspect that this lean and functional model is how the majority of the Anglican world functions. In our diocese I run the lay-evangelists’ formation program, another colleague leads the lay-reader training, another overseas our environmental stewardship etc. We are all parish priests. There’s very little money available to finance specialist staff positions. I’m sure this is situation normal in most dioceses around the world.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Hi Tim. Thank you for reminding us again of the realities of Anglican faith and ministry beyond this island. It is something we are needing to learn here of course. But we will be dragged to it kicking and screaming.

Alison Menage
Alison Menage
1 month ago

Anne Foreman Oh yes! This article totally shows how dreadfully wrong the corporate body of the CE have got it. SAVE THE PARISH has come from the people, sick to death of the money, our money, being wasted on so called expertise reports and studies. Sick to death of largesse appointments at huge salaries. All fiddling while Rome burns and the plebs are NOT being cared for or nurtured. That’s why congregations are heading for the hills!! Bishops et al have obfuscated and yes lied! And they have been discovered! Too many chiefs! That’s why trust has no longer found… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Alison Menage
1 month ago

Alison your anger is justified. We’re being moved to a situation where parishes still exist but to all intents and purposes in name only. I think I’m right in saying that’s what’s happened in the Carlisle diocese, was proposed for Leicester recently and is seemingly on the cards for Lincoln. I’m rather of the same opinion as you; that this will only hasten the rate of decline. People have voted with their feet and their bank balances, Winchester being a case in point. Anger in the Home Counties and now we’re told in central London, wearied resignation leading to wearied… Read more »

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
1 month ago

I’d like to thank Anne Foreman for her service on General Synod. She was much respected for her wisdom, her political savvy, her principled stand on issues she cared about and her unfailing courtesy. She modelled the best of synodical behaviour. Synod is losing some very good people who won’t be standing again this time. I hope they will be replaced by people of equal calibre.

Anne Foreman
Anne Foreman
Reply to  Filigree Jones
1 month ago

Thank you Filigree Jones – much appreciated Anne

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

On lay leadership it is all too easy to forget the obvious – like Canons A6 and A7. Now this does not refer to liturgical leadership, but Crown appointments are still a major part of our ecclesiastical infrastructure. Also note “the laity that bear office” (by which might be meant chancellors, registrars, churchwardens and the like). It is perhaps also worth noting that in areas like the CDM there is a judicial authority higher than the Bishop in our Church and that just might give scope to free our Bishops from the tramline roles which have caused so many problems… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
1 month ago

Interesting thread on Emmanuel Wimbledon and its accounts. Someone might make something of it.https://twitter.com/pinkiepoenk/status/1447186357999255558?s=21

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

The question being addresed here by the Revd. Angela Tilby (Church Times) is one which has been preoccupying members of our Mother Church of England ever since ther announcment of ‘10,000 Lay-Led Churches’ in that country, which is the brainchild of a clergy member of the GAFCON Group, who still occupies a parochial post in the C. of E. Angela addresses – quite rightly, I think – a situation where the role of the traditional parishes will be somewhat sidelined in a push to create new lay-led para-churches, which will become the well-spring of a planned ‘revival’ of the Church… Read more »

Alison Menage
Alison Menage
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Last Saturday was a sad day for the Church of England. In Leicester diocese, the governing body voted in favour of a plan to fold 234 parishes into the embrace of 20 to 25 huge groups, called minster communities, by 2026. One in five local vicars will disappear, creating what sounds like a clerical car pool. “Thank you for calling the minster community help line. Press 1 for help with a very sick relative or friend. Press 2 for help with bereavement. Press 3 to arrange a funeral.” This could be the future for the people of Leicester’s historic parishes.iend.… Read more »

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